"The Fierce Urgency Of Now"


Here's the partial text of Obama's speech at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Iowa last night. It brought the house down. You can see the video here. Blogger reax here. The Des Moines Register's David Yepsen:

Should [Obama] win the Iowa caucuses, Saturday’s dinner will be remembered as one of the turning points in his campaign in here, a point where he laid down the marker and began closing on Clinton, the national frontrunner.

Money Obama quote:

When I am this party’s nominee, my opponent will not be able to say that I voted for the war in Iraq ... And he will not be able to say that I waivered on something as fundamental as whether it is okay for America to torture because it is never okay. That's why I’m in it!

... I will lead the world to combat the common threats of the 21st century ... and I will send once more a message to those yearning faces beyond our shores that says you matter to us, your future is our future, and our moment is now. America, our moment is now.

Our moment is now!

I don't want to spend the next year or the next four years refighting the same fights that we had in the 1990s. I don’t want to pit red America against blue America. I want to be the President of the United States of America.

And if those Republicans come at me with the same fear-mongering and swift-boating that they usually do, then I will take them head-on. Because I believe the American people are tired of fear, and tired of distractions…we can make this election not about fear, but about the future, and that will not be just a Democratic victory, that will be an American victory, a victory that America needs right now!

I am not in this race to fulfill some longheld ambitions or because I believe it's somehow owed to me. I never expected to be here. I always knew this journey was improbable. I am running in this race because of of what Dr. King called "the fierce urgency of now." Because I believe that there’s such a thing as being too late, and that hour is almost upon us.

I don't agree with Obama on some issues. I'm more conservative domestically and economically. I'm closer to the Republicans on healthcare. I may be more hawkish internationally. Philosophically, I have more in common with Ron Paul than Barack Obama. But I hope I can see how someone meets a moment in history, even if I don't fully agree with him. That's how I felt about Bill Clinton in 1992 - and I don't think in retrospect I was wrong, for all his faults. I also believe that it is good for the republic that the Democratic party regain its nerve and its soul again. Only Obama can do that. Only he still believes. And if the Democrats regain their soul and shuck off their fear, maybe - who knows? - the Republicans will be next.

(Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty.)